"How do I know when it's God talking to me or the devil?" This is a question that I get quite a bit in my correspondence and conversations with people.
I have met different people who discern God's will or God's voice in curious ways:
- One person told me that the plant on his microwave will blow in a certain direction that tells him the next thing he thinks/hears is God talking to him.
- Another person told me that when he spends time in prayer, he has the window open. If the curtains blow out, the answer from God is yes. If the curtains suck into the window, the answer from God is no.
- Yet, another person told me that when he prays, he stands as still and as upright as he can and while he's praying about a decision, if he leans to the right, the answer is no. If he leans to the right, the answer is yes.
- I have also had people (who were not psychotic) tell me that God tells them answers thru the people talking on the television.
- Another individual told me that he looks for signs. For example, he was contemplating whether to take a job in Wyoming and he saw someone wearing a Wyoming shirt shortly after praying. He wondered if that was God leading.
Jesus had a little something to say about this. He says that wicked and adulterous people are always looking for a sign.
It seems to me that much of what Christians call discerning God's voice amounts to not much more than folk religion. Folk religion is unreflective religious beliefs based largely upon feeings, cliches, devotional literature and "evangelegends."
Folk religion is not God honoring. In my discussions with those five people above, I can assure you that they came up with some pretty goofy ideas about what God was saying. God is clear, He says if anyone lacks wisdom, we just need to ask Him.
As Christians, we now have the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit. We no longer need to consult the urim and thummim.
Nor do we need to cast lots
to make decisions.
However, if you read my post yesterday, I wrote about how the devil tries to remind of our sins and failures. How, do we know when its the devil is giving us a hard time or God's Holy Spirit convicting us of something that needs to change?
The answer is simple. The devil hates you. God loves you. Once you get that concept firmly in your mind, discerning which voice is which becomes less problematic.
Now, I'm not saying that we have the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. I'm not wanting this to be caricatured.
My experience is often it is not the devil speaking to me but it is my own sinfulness getting in the way. My own sin nature speaks to me.
Nevertheless, if you hear a thought that says, "you know, you really are a pathetic excuse for a Christian. You are such a hypocrite, you are so selfish."
Does that sound like a hateful thought or a loving thought? I can tell you that thought either came from your own sinfulness or the devil (or maybe even both). Do you see what that thought does? It cuts you down at the very core of your being it attacks you as a child of God. It's like being blasted with a shotgun.
Now, let's say you hear a thought that says, "you know, you just spoke about how you didn't like that style of worship. Did you consider that worship can take many forms? You need to apologize for what you just said."
Does that sound like a hateful thought or a loving thought? Do you see what that thought does? It is clear and concise. It doesn't attack you as a child of God. It's like a single bullet shot right into your pride.
So, are you seeing the difference? When you have a thought and it feels like you have been blasted with a shotgun, that the thought was so diffuse, you can bet that it's not from God...
God's Holy Spirit is a sniper. He shoots clean and hits his target.
There is no collateral damage.
When the devil speaks, its to entice you away from God. To destroy how you view yourself before God.
When God speaks to you, it's to attract you to Him.
Paul's words ring true when discerning the voice of God, "Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Some of you say, “I’m not emotional, I don’t connect.”
You should. Men and women have the same emotions; they express them in masculine and feminine ways.
Your wife needs intimacy. She wants you to know her. She wants to know you. She wants you to open up. She wants you to be passionate and loving and honest, and she wants to know you and she wants to be known by you.
And the Bible says that Adam was with his wife, Eve, and he, what?He knew her.
There are too many guys that turn marriage into a job description. He does his responsibility, she does hers, and there’s no emotional connection whatsoever. Those are guys whose sins are sins of omission. “I didn’t hit her, I didn’t yell at her.” Yeah, but you didn’t love her. You didn’t connect with her. You didn’t encourage her. You didn’t pursue her.
Ultimately, you failed her.HONOR HER VERBALLY
How do you speak to her? Do you have nasty nicknames for her? Do you raise your voice? Do you threaten her? Do you give back-handed comments? Some of you guys would say, “I would never hit a woman.” How about with your tongue?
When you wife is not there and you’re with the boys, how do you speak of her? What do you say about her?DONT' PUT YOUR CHILDREN IN THE MIDDLE
You know what? Your children will pick this up as well.
You start saying horrible things about your wife, and the children will be left in this awkward and untenable position of choosing between their mother and father and invariably some of the children will despise their own mother and speak evil of her in an effort to remain loyal to their father.
A division in a marriage includes the children, they’re stuck in the middle. They’re casualties of the war.
You men could defuse this and take away this fear by honoring her verbally. Speaking honestly, respectfully, lovingly to her and about her. Some of you guys forget. You say, “Well, Jesus isn’t there. My wife isn’t there. I get to say whatever I want.” No, Jesus is there even when your wife’s not there. God sees everything. God knows everything, and you’re not getting away with anything.
Tomorrow, we talk about honoring your wife financially.
This post is adapted from The Mars Hill blog. It can be found at: http://marshill.com/2010/12/14/how-to-honor-your-wife/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Nobody likes to be lectured.The pointing fingers.The condescending tones.The questioning of motives.The bombardment of facts and statistics.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Even if I’m 100% wrong and I know it, being lectured makes me feel powerless and stupid. And in all honesty, it triggers my desire to rebel not to conform.
To roll my eyes. To do the opposite, or to disengage and do nothing at all. A good ol’ fashioned lecture never made me want to change anything about myself. In fact, it usually makes me want to dig in my heels and grab back the position of power.
To fight lecture with a good lecture of my own!Is it just me, or do we seem to have become a society of lecturers?
Nothing made that more clear to me than this little chicken controversy that’s been floating around for the past few weeks.Maybe you heard about it?
- We lectured Chick-Fil-A on their gay-marriage position with pickets, insults, and even government threats.
- We lectured those who lectured Chick-Fil-A with pithy facts about how they treat same-sex couples in other countries.
- We lectured those who lectured the original lecturers of Chick-Fil-A with jabs about how Christians will line up to eat chicken but never serve at a homeless shelter.
(And now I guess it could be argued that I’m lecturing them all).
Social media was alive with quotes, stats, and funny little insults that either caused you to erupt with smug laughter and a massive re-posting campaign, or boiled your blood in leftover waffle fry grease sending you to the cloud for a stellar comeback.
Here’s my concern. We might be able to force others to bend to our ways, our perspectives, or our lifestyle. But unless there is a change of heart, it’s all just a byproduct of persuasion or power.True transformation is never triggered by insult, condescension, mockery, or stellar debate techniques.
What if there was another way?
It seems to me Jesus engaged in conversation not condemnation, all without muddling the definition of truth
. He is
the truth (John 14:6
What if we asked more questions instead of making imperative demands? What if we learned stories instead of categorizing people into issues? What if we stopped lecturing and started listening?
The Bible gives us rules, commands, and standards by which to live, with the full knowledge we are completely incapable of keeping them.
That’s why Jesus came. Not to lecture us into alignment with His Kingdom, but to do in us what we cannot do for ourselves.
To change our hearts from the inside out, not just bend our perspectives on important issues like chicken-gate.“God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” -John 3:17 MSG“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” -Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG
This post was written by Rev. Cooper. You can find the original post here: http://beyondtherisk.com/2012/08/08/dont-you-just-love-to-be-lectured/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Listen carefully to my words, let this be the consolation you give me. Job 21:1-2
Listening should be easy. But it is not. At a minimum, listening means that we have to be quiet. We cannot listen when we are talking. Not talking is the hard part. There are many reasons for this. We prefer talking over listening because it gives us a sense of control. We can control the silences between words by choosing when to talk. Since silences of even a few seconds can cause our anxiety to increase, we fill the silence with words even when we really have nothing to say.
It is a remarkable experience to have someone really listen -- to have someone's undivided attention and interest. When someone listens, they communicate to us on a very deep level that we are valuable. Their listening breaks our isolation and aloneness. And it decreases the fears which come when our thoughts and feelings are confused. Talking out loud in the presence of a person who listens carefully allows us to gain clarity and perspective. Gradually, being listened to can begin to convince us that we are worth someone's attention and worth being loved.
When someone listens with respect and acceptance we are comforted and consoled. Our pain is soothed. Our burden is lightened.
Thank you, Lord, for those who listen to me.
And thank you for the people who
trust me enough to allow me to listen to them.
Give me the courage to talk honestly.
Give me the grace to listen well.
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
There have been a few times when I have been so angry, that I felt like slugging someone...
Let me set this up for you. The church that I attended would put on a terrific Easter Musical every year. It was a great production and much of the community would go. It was quite popular. I enjoyed being part of it.
I was at a fast food establishment and I overheard a conversation that I wish I had never heard. Two young men were talking about the Easter Musical. Since I was in the production, I listened intentionally. Then they started talking to each other about how to pick up girls. I heard the usual stupid man advice about showing off, flexing your muscles, driving a fast car, flattering, flirting, etc.
However, what I heard next was REALLY DISGUSTING.
I wish I hadn't been listening.
One young man said, "I take girls to that Easter Musical that's going on right now. I cry when Jesus is on the cross and they get all emotional. Then, when I get them home, they are like putty in my hands. I can do anything I want and they never say no." He continued, "If I can't get a girl to go with me, I will hang out afterwards and talk to the girls that have been crying. It's pretty easy to pick one up when they're like that." It made my blood boil. I wanted to slug the guy or say something but I was so angry and in such shock, I just sat there in disbelief.
Did you catch what was DISGUSTING about that conversation? God talks about this. He says, "They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin..."
Why is this disgusting?
Did you catch what this young man said? He took the most wonderful and supreme act of love and perverted it for his own selfish, sinful advantage. And not only that, he took others with him.
Do you find that disgusting?
I have talked about several disgusting things on this blog. What makes this the most disgusting thing I have ever heard?
Do you understand the gravity of this young man's statements?
It is downright disgusting to use something that is holy for sin. To defile God's holiness with sin is a major affront to God.
This conversation gave me a whole different perspective on God's Holiness and what it means to be a man.
A real man takes God's Holiness seriously. That doesn't mean that a real man can't have fun and can't make light of some things that happen, even in a church. But a real man knows better than to defile God with sin. God and sin can NEVER be connected, even the slightest connection is abhorrent to God.
Do you defile God's Holiness? Do you take Him seriously? God says we are to be holy in all we do.
Never connect God to sin.BE HOLY.BE A MAN.